Saturday, July 16, 2011

Foul Territory: Hit Kings, Drama Queens

By Jeffrey Boswell

* Abby Road, or Header? I Hardly Knew 'Er — The United States women advanced to the World Cup final with a 3-1 win over France on Wednesday. An Abby Wambach header was again pivotal, as her goal off a Lauren Cheney corner kick in the 79th minute was the game-winner. Wambach's heroics underscore the "Jose Canseco Rule" in sports: that balls bouncing off heads are awesome.

* Hard-Hitting Analysis, or Name-Dropper, or Adding Insult to Injury — In an interview with Men's Journal magazine, James Harrison referred to Roger Goodell as a "devil," called out Ben Roethlisberger, and called Rashard Mendenhall a "fumble machine." Supposedly, Harrison is still recovering from offseason surgery to remove an internal editor.

* I'm Getting' Too Old For This Hit — Derek Jeter went 5-5 on Saturday and collected his 3,000th hit with a home run in the Yankees 5-4 win over the Rays. Jeter, citing "emotional and physical exhaustion" from his pursuit of 3,000, decided to skip the All-Star Game after being selected by fans to start. Some were put off by Jeter's decision to eschew all-star festivities, but he insisted, after a 5-5 performance, that he deserved an intentional "walk."

* Roger That? — A judge declared a mistrial in the Roger Clemens perjury case, citing inadmissible evidence shown to jurors. It was a great day for Clemens supporters, and they celebrated in typical fashion, rolling the pitching great's yard with gauze, and crowning a beauty queen to mark the occasion, dubbing her "Miss Remember." When asked to comment on the ruling, Clemens first asked "Am I under oath?" then replied "I can't lie. I'm thrilled."

* Super Freak — Randy Moss' agent, Joel Segal, said the enigmatic receiver is in "freakish," shape, and that whatever team winds up getting Moss will be getting the "old Randy Moss." It sounds more like Segal carnival-barking his client's marketability, because, as Segal well knows, if Moss gets overpaid for his services, so does he.

* Sent Wolf Packing, Or Ram-Bis-missed — Kurt Rambis was fired as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday after compiling a 32-132 record in his two years as head coach. President of Basketball Operations David Kahn took three months deciding whether Rambis should remain as coach, and one second deciding he shouldn't.

* If You're Adding Up Brushes With the Law, Then Pacman is a Painter, or He May Be a Bengal, But Cincinnati "Red" Him His Rights — Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was arrested Sunday in Cincinnati on charges of disorderly conduct while intoxicated and resisting arrest. Jones claimed he was just out celebrating his wife's birthday, and was not drunk and was not resisting police. Police declined to let the incarcerated Jones sing "Happy Birthday" to his wife, although they did let him hum a few bars.

* Quack-a-Shaq — Shaquille O'Neal signed with Turner Broadcasting, and will likely join TNT's "Inside the NBA" studio show. O'Neal will likely match wits, and buffoonery, with TNT staple Charles Barkley. With O'Neal's addition, TNT plans to add a fresh new feature to its broadcasts: subtitles.

* Ward of the State, Or Ben Roethlisberger Calls it "Passing" a Sobriety Test — Hines Ward was charged with drunken driving after being pulled in Atlanta early Saturday morning. The former Super Bowl MVP and reigning "Dancing With the Stars" champ failed field sobriety tests and was generally disoriented. It appears Ward has gone from "light" on his feet to "lit" on his feet.

* Father Throws Best — Robinson Cano won the Home Run Derby on Monday night, outgunning Adrian Gonzalez 12 to 11 in the final round. Cano's father, Jose, a former pitcher for the Houston Astros, pitched to him in all three rounds. It was a dream come true for Robinson, as well a the elder Cano, whose career came full circle as he can now say he's been rocked by the National and American Leagues.

* Left Hanging — A fan at Monday's Home Run Derby, Keith Carmickle, was saved from a 20 foot tumble onto concrete as he reached for a home run ball smacked by Prince Fielder. Carmickle's brother and a friend grabbed him, preventing a tumble after he reached for a ball while standing atop a small table. It was the first ever save recorded in Home Run Derby history. Carmickle thanked his brother and friend, presenting them with a pair of "I'm With Stupid" t-shirts.

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